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review 2017-03-07 11:40
Close Enough To Touch
Close Enough to Touch: A Novel - Colleen Oakley

By:  Colleen Oakley

ISBN:1501139266

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 3/7/2017

Format: Other 

My Rating:  5 Stars

 

Talented storyteller, Colleen Oakley returns following her smashing debut, Before I Go (2015) with her latest poignant love story, CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH – full of emotion, readers will laugh and cry and fall in love with the memorable characters.

“ . . . Love is messy. It doesn’t come to us in a perfect box all wrapped up in a bow. It’s more like a gift from a child, crayon-scrawled and crumpled. Imperfect. But always a gift just the same.”

Jubilee Jenkins did not wake up one morning and think she was going to become a recluse. She is allergic to other people.

Born in 1989 to a single mother, she was the typical infant, and it wasn’t until she was three the issues began. Starting with hives and welts to hospital emergency room visits, and advancing to an EpiPen and anaphylaxis. The physicians were perplexed.

When she was six years old, she was diagnosed with type IV contact dermatitis to foreign human skin cells. She is allergic to other people. The only one of a handful of people in the history of the world with the same condition. Rare.

She explodes in welts and hives when someone else’s skin touches hers. Anaphylaxis if she came into oral contact with another human (kissing). She almost died. A boy kissed her. The tongue swelled and throat closed.

Then three months later her mom married Lenny a gas station owner, packed a bag, and left. Sending checks, Jubilee has not left her home in nine years. She felt like a freak. Making do with ordering her food and receiving her education sitting at home online.

Her worst nightmare. Her mom dies, now she is forced to leave her home in order, to support herself. She is terrified. She needs money. She must find a job. How will she leave her home and remain safe?

She finds work at the library and meets Eric Keegan. Eric is divorced and having a problem communicating with his children. An estranged teenage daughter, Ellie and adopted son Aja.

Jubilee will soon become connected with this family in so many ways, on so many levels. Will she ever be able to have a normal human contact relationship? An experimental cure? Would it be too much to hope for? Can she fall in love for the first time at age 28?

 

 



What a delightful story and what a fabulous front cover! Can you imagine a life without touch? Three wounded souls connect in unexpected ways.

From Oakley’s debut and her background before becoming a novelist — a health journalist, having written a few articles about allergies, among many other topics, I love her insights and interest in the medical field, which is always intriguing to me since I read everything I can get my hands on and continued research when it comes to allergies.

She integrates newsworthy topics into modern contemporary family lives, allowing her characters to come alive on the pages. Interesting, absorbing, and compelling. Plus enjoy her writing style. For fans of Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty, Lisa Genova, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Diane Chamberlain, and Jo Jo Moyes.

As Oakley mentions in her recent interview with Atlanta Magazine:

“The burden of responsibility as a parent is already really high, but when your kids have food allergies, it is a constant 24/7 level of vigilance. It’s already terrifying to let your kids out into the world, but knowing that something as little as a peanut or an egg could end their life, and you’re the sole person responsible for that, is really heavy.”

All too true, sadly enough, most people are not educated as to the life-threatening consequences of one single ingredient in a food.

On a side note:
What a timely topic and one I am well versed on. Allergies are quite the mystery. Their triggers can change without rhyme or reason. From welts, hives, and Anaphylaxis numerous times, over foods, additives, chemicals, environmental toxins, and especially, medications of any sort. One drop of cream on your skin, and it can happen. Equipped with Benadryl and an EpiPen, at all times.

I can only imagine how difficult this may be for parents with children they have to protect. When they are at school or at friend’s homes, away from their controlled environment. Many times it is frustrating, as people do not take allergies serious (especially restaurant staff, friends, and the overall hospitality, and medical industry) unless you have been through the nightmare yourself or someone close to you.

I do love my Atlanta authors! Highly recommend both books- an author to follow.

A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

Allergic to human touch? Colleen Oakley’s latest novel explores the idea

We chatted with the metro Atlanta author about her inspiration for the novel about an intriguing imaginary medical condition

March 2017

Colleen OakleyColleen Oakley

PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM HANCOCK

Try to imagine your life without touch. No hugs or kisses (or sex), but also no brushing hands with the cashier as you pay for your deli sandwich, no handshakes at business meetings, no shoulder rubs with strangers in a packed MARTA train. In her new book, Close Enough to Touch, metro Atlanta novelist Colleen Oakley considers the practical and emotional ramifications of such a life. We recently chatted with Oakley about her inspiration for the book.

 

Read More Atlanta Magazine

 

 

 

 

  

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/03/Close-Enough-to-Touch
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text 2015-02-19 16:13
Hideaway: Recluse in Historical Romance
To Charm a Naughty Countess (Matchmaker Trilogy) - Theresa Romain
The Lightkeeper - Susan Wiggs
By Tessa Dare Romancing the Duke: Castles Ever After - Tessa Dare
The Lone Warrior - Lori Austin
Fool Me Twice - Meredith Duran
Daisy - Leigh Greenwood
My Shadow Warrior - Jen Holling
The Prince of Midnight - Laura Kinsale
The Texan's Wager (Wife Lottery Series #1) - Jodi Thomas
The Summer of You - Kate Noble

Do you sometimes just want to get away from it all? Well, recluses do it with style.  In Historical Romance, they do it drafty castles, windswept ranches, and manors on the moor. 

 

Here are some great Recluses of Historical Romance for your reading pleasure! My lists are never in any particular order.  I left the more obvious Beauty and the Beast retellings for another time. 

 

1. To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain

 

Can a reclusive duke...

 

Brilliant but rumored mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne, has no success courting heiresses until widowed Lady Stratton takes up his cause—after first refusing his suit.

 

Win London's most powerful countess?

 

Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Statton, sits alone at the pinnacle of London society and has vowed never to remarry. When Michael—her counterpart in an old scandal—returns to town after a long absence, she finds herself as enthralled with him as ever. As she guides the anxiety-ridden duke through the trials of London society, Caroline realizes that she's lost her heart. But if she gives herself to the only man she's ever loved, she'll lose the hard won independence she prizes above all.

 

 

2.  The Lightkeeper by Susan Wiggs

 

Once, the sea took everything he loved… 

Jesse Morgan is a man hiding from the pain of his past, a man who has vowed never to give his heart again. Keeper of a remote lighthouse along a rocky and dangerous coast, he has locked himself away from everything but his bitter memories. 

Now, the sea has given him a second chance. 

 

A beautiful stranger washes ashore, the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Penniless and pregnant, Mary Dare is a woman who carries painful memories of her own. 

With laughter, hope and joy, Mary and her child bring light into the dark corners of Jesse's world. But when their friendship turns to passion and passion becomes love, secrets from the past threaten to take it all away.

 

3.  Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

 

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde
Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens.
She never doubted romance would be in her future, too.  The storybooks
offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off.  One by one by one.

  • Ugly duckling turned swan?
  • Abducted by handsome highwayman?
  • Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?


No, no, and... Heh.

Now Izzy's given up yearning for romance.
She'll settle for a roof over her head.  What fairy tales are left over
for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who's never even been
kissed?

This one.

 

4. The Lone Warrior by Lori Austin

 

Rose Varner needs a man…

But not just any man. The one known as “White Ghost with Hair of Fire.” He may be the only way to rescue her daughter, Lily, from the Cheyenne. Legend has it he was once the Cheyenne’s captive, but his courage impressed them so much that they accepted him as one of their own. Yet the man Rose finds seems far from legendary…

Luke Phelan’s tortured past has driven him to live as a recluse in the Smoky Hills of western Kansas. Having vowed to keep his distance from the Cheyenne, Luke refuses to accompany Rose on her rescue mission. But her bravery in the face of dangerous odds changes his mind. Now as they ride toward their destination, they’ll battle outlaws, bounty hunters, and their own rising desires before finding Lily. But the cost to Rose will be high, and her budding love for Luke will be put to the test…

 

5. Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran

 

Sensible and lonely, Olivia Mather survives by her wits - and her strict policy of avoiding trouble. But when she realises that the Duke of Marwick might hold the secrets of her family's past, she does the unthinkable, infiltrating his household as a maid. She'll clean his study and rifle through his papers looking for information.

 

Alastair de Grey has a single reason to live: vengeance. More beautiful than Lucifer, twice as feared, and thrice as cunning, he'll use any weapon to punish those who fooled and betrayed him - even an impertinent maid who doesn't know her place. But the more fascinated he becomes with the uppity redhead, the more dangerous his carefully designed plot becomes. For the one contingency he forgot to plan for was falling in love...and he cannot survive being fooled again.

 

6. Daisy by Leigh Greenwood

 

While Tyler Randolph is prospecting for gold in New Mexico to get the money to build the hotel of his dreams he finds a woman wounded and left to die in a blizzard. He can't take her into Albuquerque because he doesn't know who's trying to kill her, so he takes her to his cabin. When the killers come after her, he makes it his job to protect her. Tyler is a loner not used to have a woman around. He's very self-conscious about his tall, lanky body and the fact that he isn't handsome like his brothers.

Daisy Singleton has no idea who killed her father and tried to kill her, or why. Awakening with a head wound in a strange man's cabin, she doesn't know whether to be afraid or angry. Being stranded in a mountain cabin with a silent, kind, bossy, bear of a man is frustrating. She just wants to go to Albuquerque and stay with her friends, but Tyler won't let her leave because he still doesn't know who's trying to kill her. When Daisy tells Tyler she's engaged to be married, he hustles her down the mountain.

Although Daisy stays with Hen and Laurel and Tyler returns to this mine, their story isn't finished. There remains a killer to unmask, Daisy's independence to establish, and the need to learn the truth about their feelings toward each other.

 

7. My Shadow Warrior by Jen Holling

 

Rose, the youngest of the MacDonell sisters, is more concerned with her father's mysterious illness than with her impending marriage to her childhood sweetheart. A gifted but frustrated healer, she decides to beg help from William MacKay -- a reclusive laird who is renowned not only for his ferocity, but also for his healing powers. Denied entry to his fortress in the cold, harsh mountains of the far northwestern highlands, Rose uses cunning to force her way in, and William is duly intrigued with this bold slip of a girl. But securing his help may not be enough to save Rose's father. For there is something darker at work in the glen, something more powerful than William's and Rose's magic combined, and only the soul-deep passion that shadows their mutual desire can help their love prevail.

 

8. The Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale

 

He was once a legendary highwayman. Now he’s a recluse in a ruined French castle, with only a half-wild wolf for a companion. When Lady Leigh Strachan comes looking for a man to aid in her revenge, she is disillusioned to find that the famed Prince of Midnight could not help even if he cared to—which he does not. S. T. Maitland wants nothing to do with his legend, or with this fierce, beautiful, broken woman . . . until the old thrill of living on the cutting edge of danger begins to rise in his blood again.

 

9. The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas

 

Thrown off a wagon train with two other women and trying to avoid jail for a murder they committed, Bailee Moore agrees to enter a "Wife Lottery"—a ploy concocted by the Cedar Point sheriff to secure wives for the men in the small Texas town. For the sensible Bailee, however, marrying Carter McKoy is like exchanging one life sentence for another—especially since her new husband hasn't even seen fit to utter a single word in her presence. But still, she can't help thinking that something about this strong, silent farmer could be the key to leaving her troubled past behind…and making a worthy wager with her heart.

 

10. The Summer of You by Kate Noble

 

Lady Jane Cummings expects her summer at Merrymere Lake to be hum-drum compared to London, but when rumors of a local highwayman lead her to discover the handsome gentleman Byrne Worth, nothing can keep her from Merrymere's most wanted.

 

Please vote for your favorite Historical Romance Loner on my Goodreads list: Hideaway: Recluse in Historical Romance

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review 2014-09-26 21:25
The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan
The Mill River Redemption: A Novel - Darcie Chan

Recently, I read Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan, and was able to find this sequel at my local library. I enjoyed reading this one more than the first. The Mill River Redemption was a little less predictable than the first.

The Mill River Redemption tells the story of a newly widowed mother of two girls, who have moved to Mill River to live close to an aunt. Josie becomes the recipient of a gift from Mary, the recluse of the original book, and raises her two daughters. Approximately 20 years later, and several months after Mary's death, Josie dies and bequeaths her estate to Emily and Rose, only if they work together to find a key, in the hopes that they reconcile.

This book brings back some of the characters of the original, and ties up a few loose ends from "Recluse." There is a surprise or two at the end that I didn't see coming.

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review 2014-08-22 17:14
The Mill River Recluse
The Mill River Recluse - Darcie Chan

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan is an enjoyable read. The plot line follows the main character, Mary, who has refused to leave her home for 50 plus years, especially after several traumatic events in her life and the parish priest, Michael, who has become her best friend over the course of those same 50 plus years.

The plot switches back and forth between the present and the past very well. The chapters covering the past develop Mary's character well and, I felt, likable. Mary's husband and his family, with the exception of Connor, the grandfather, were unlikeable, and a little on the snooty side, using their wealth as a way to hide behind what they didn't like or want to deal with. The present day chapters show several local citizens, new and life long residents of the community, struggling with their own flaws while living in a small town.

With Connor and Michael as her primary friends over the years, Mary survives overlooking the town, and feels like she is part of the town even though it's only through watching the townspeople.

I felt the switching back and forth between past and present worked well for me without confusing me. There was some predictability, but the storyline did keep my interest. Even though the book starts off with the negative events leading to Mary becoming a recluse, this did end up like a "feel good" book.

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review 2014-06-16 14:30
The Mill River Recluse
The Mill River Recluse: A Novel - Darcie Chan

 Author:  Darcie Chan. 

Release Date:  June 17, 2014

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

ISBN: 9780553391879

Pages: 416

Format:  Paperback

Genre:  Fiction – Contemporary 

My Rating:  5 Stars 

 

A special thank you to Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  

 

"I fell in love with this story, the author, the town, and the characters!"

 

This mysterious mansion drew me in from the front cover, along with these intriguing characters, especially, Mary and Father O’Brien. Your heart goes out to this woman, living a sheltered life, yet able to touch so many lives with her goodwill, even in the next upcoming book (from the grave).

 

Shifting back and forth from past to present, Chan takes us back to the era of the fifties and sixties. A time when options were limited, for those suffering from social anxiety disorders--except mental institutions, which would have been detrimental in this case with such a delicate and fragile woman.

 

When combined with physical abuse, there were even less options for these victims --a lack of support, education, and protection, especially ones fighting against wealthy and powerful families. Thankfully, in Mary’s case, she has two allies – Father O’Brien and her husband’s grandfather, Conor.

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common emotional disorders, annually affecting more than 20 million Americans (about one in nine). In Mary’s case, one of post-traumatic stress disorder (occurring in individuals who have survived a severe or terrifying physical or emotional event), interfering with her daily functioning. Even today’s alarming statistics, one in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime, and an alarming (60%) of rapes are never reported to authorities.

 

On a humorous note, some readers will also relate to the time between 1953 and 1968, transitioning from black- and- white television, to color—recalling the excitement, and will enjoy the TV show mentions.

 

Darcie Chan, writes from the heart-- Her passion is reflective throughout the pages, of this thought-providing novel of life lessons learned. Be sure and visit the author’s website to learn the inspiration behind The Mill River Recluse-- the majesty of the Cornwell mansion, and the generosity and kindness of one man.

 

Fans of Emilie Richards, Beth Hoffman, Donna Ball, Nancy Thayer, Joanne Demaio, Wendy Wax, Susan Wiggs, Patti Callahan Henry, Karen White, Shelly Noble, and Lisa Wingate will enjoy Chan’s warmhearted style and rich characters, you will not soon forget.

 

I highly recommend the second Mill River book, as well.
THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION
Coming 8/26/14
Available NOW for Pre-Order!
A separate giveaway coming August!

 

These special books are standalone reads; however, trust me, you will want to read both, as some of the characters live on, in this engaging family saga of two sisters!

 

Congrats to Winners of The Mill River Recluse Book Giveaway Contest! Judy Canfield, Carole Bishop, and Patricia Tucker 

 

"A sensational story of triumph over tragedy, one that reminds us of the value of friendship, and the ability of love to come from the most unexpected of places."    

 

Hope you will love RECLUSE, and the upcoming REDEMPTION as much as I enjoyed reading them.  Let me know your comments, after reading, as would love to discuss.  

 

 

About the Author

Darcie Chan is the New York Times bestselling author of the eBook sensation, The Mill River Recluse, now being offered in print format 6/17/14, and the upcoming novel The Mill River Redemption, 8/26/14, now available for pre-order.  The Mill River Recluse, has sold more than 700,000 copies to date. She has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.  For fourteen years, Chan worked as an attorney drafting environmental and natural resource legislation for the U.S. Senate. She now writes fiction full-time and lives north of New York City with her husband and son. Author photo by Carrie Schechter

 

 

       

 

The Mill River Redemption 

Coming 8/26/14 

       

New York Times bestselling author Darcie Chan returns to the enchanting town of Mill River in a heartwarming novel of family, self-discovery, and forgiveness. Perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy.

Josie DiSanti is starting over. Recently widowed, she has fled her New York City home with her two young daughters—spirited Rose and shy Emily—in tow. She takes refuge in Mill River, Vermont, to live with her only remaining relative, Ivy Collard, the local bookstore owner and a woman Josie barely knows. There, the young mother and her girls build a new life for themselves—until a shocking tragedy tears the sisters apart.

Years later, Josie’s still-estranged daughters return to the quiet town for the reading of their mother’s will, which stipulates that they must work together to locate a hidden key to a safe-deposit box containing their inheritance.

 

Even from the great beyond, it seems Josie will do anything to bring about her daughters’ reconciliation. Having no choice but to go along with their mother’s final wishes, Rose and Emily move back to Mill River for the summer to begin the search—discovering that, in the close-knit community known for magic and miracles,

an even greater treasure awaits them.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/927052555
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